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This love of victory, as an evidence of superiority, is the foundation of the amusement derived from all sports and games into which competition enters; all, namely, that involve a contest either of bodily strength and skill (as cricket, athletic exercises, and all encounters of a combative character, μαχητικάς, cock-fights, bear-baiting, pugilistic encounters, tournaments and sham-fights of all kinds), or ‘wit-combats’, intellectual and dialectical encounters (ἐριστικάς); games of knucklebones, of ball, of dice, and draughts.

Three MSS Q, Y^{b}, Z^{b} here add αὐλητικάς, (τὰς μαχητικὰς καὶ τὰς αὐλητικὰς καὶ ἐριστικάς), to represent ‘musical’ contests, which spoils the antithesis, and introduces a vicious classification.

On the zeal and eagerness and love of victory manifested by children in their sports, comp. Cic. de Fin. V 22. 61. On παιδιαὶ ἐριστικαί, Probl. XVIII 2 (referred to by Gaisford). Διὰ τί οἱ ἰριστικοὶ λόγοι γυμναστικοί εἰσιν; ὅτι ἔχουσι τὸ νικᾷν ἡττᾶσθαι πυκνόν; φιλονείκους οὖν εὐθὺς ποιοῦσιν: καὶ γὰρ νικῶντες διὰ τὸ χαίρειν προάγονται μᾶλλον ἐρίζειν καὶ ἡττώ- μενοι ὡς ἀναμαχούμενοι. καὶ οἱ ἐν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἀγῶσι ταὐτό: διὸ καὶ μαχόμενοι καὶ ἥττους ὄντες πολλάκις οὐ βούλονται διαλύεσθαι.

ἐριστική here in the Rhetoric means nothing more than the practice of dialectics, arguing against an opponent, and for victory. It has, however, almost always in Plato, and not unfrequently in Aristotle, the additional connotation of captious reasoning, quibbling and sophistry. In Top. IV (de Soph. El.) 11, 171 b 24, the ἐριστικοί are defined as οἱ πάντως νικᾷν προαιρούμενοι, and again 25, οἱ μὲν οὖν τῆς νίκης αὐτῆς χάριν τοιοῦτοι ἐριστικοὶ ἄνθρωποι καὶ φιλέριδες δοκοῦσιν εἶναι. Here there is already the imputation of an over-disputatious habit implied by the word, but by and by, in lines 30, 32, it is associated with sophistry and sophists; but with this distinction —they both argue unscrupulously, ‘but the eristics do this to gain an apparent victory, the sophists to make a show of wisdom’; the definition of the sophist being, c. 1, 165 a 22, χρηματιστὴς ἀπὸ φαινομένης σοφίας οὔσης δ᾽ οὔ. Again, c. 2, 165 b 7, they are distinguished from the genuine dialecticians, who deal with τὰ ἔνδοξα real probabilities, by this sophistical habit and mode of arguing, ἐριστικοὶ δὲ οἱ ἐκ τῶν φαινομένων ἐνδόξων μὴ ὄντων δὲ συλλογιστικοὶ φαινόμενοι συλλογιστικοί. ψευδὴς λόγος καλεῖται τετραχῶς: ἕνα μὲν τρόπον ὅταν φαίνηται συμπεραίνεσθαι μὴ συμπεραινόμενος, καλεῖται ἐριστικὸς συλλογισμός. Top. Θ 12, 162 b 3. In Rhet. II 24. 10, τὰ ἐριστικά stands for the sophistical practice of unfair reasoning, γίγνεται φαινόμενος συλλογισμός ‘lead to an apparent, or fallacious, conclusion’.

ἀστραγαλίσεις] The game of ἀστράγαλοι, ‘knucklebones’, cut into rough dice with only four flat sides (talus), and so distinguished from the κύβοι (tesserae), which (as the name imports) had all six sides flat, is described in Rich, Dict. of Gk. and Rom. Antiq. p. 64, Smith, Dict. Antiq. s. v. talus, p. 1095 (ed. 2), Becker, Gallus, Exc. II, p. 499 (Engl. Tr.), Charicles, Exc. III, p. 354. And for an account of the other games mentioned see the same authorities (reff. in Index); [also K. F. Hermann's Lehrbuch der Griechischen Privatalterthümer, ed. 2, § 55. S.]

σφαιρίσεις] Theaet. 146 A, Athen. A 25, 26, p. 14 D—15 C, πολὺ δὲ τὸ σύντονον καὶ καματηρὸν τῆς περὶ τὴν σφαιριστικὴν μίλλης κ.τ.λ.

κυβείας καὶ πεττείας] often go together, Plat. Phaedr. 274 D, Rep. II 374 C, (on the difficulty of these two games); Soph. Naupl. Fragm. 4, πεσσοὺς κύβους τε. Fragm. 380, 381 (Dindorf). Plut. (Cap. Descr.) Qu. Rom. p. 272 F, Ζάκορός τις...ἀπολαύων σχολῆς ἔθος εἶχεν ἐν πεττοῖς καὶ κύβοις τὰ πολλὰ διημερεύειν. The πεττοί in particular was an old and favourite game, which appears from the constant allusions to it in Greek literature. The earliest mention of it occurs in Homer, Od. ά 107. The corresponding Latin game, latrunculi, is described by Ovid, Ars Am. II 208, III 357.

The same is the case with ‘serious’ games (games that require study and attention, such as chess, and πεττεία and κυβεία, according to Plato, l. c.)—the only difference between serious games and games of mere amusement, in respect of the pleasures they afford, is that the pleasure in the one case must be acquired, and arise from habit and cultivation, whereas others are naturally agreeable, lit. at once (εὐθύς, from the very first); to this latter class belong hunting with dogs, and every kind of chace.

Various ‘kinds of chace’ are enumerated in the Politics, I 8, in the description of the ‘hunting stage’, the second, according to Aristotle, in the development of human civilization. He takes occasion from this to distinguish the several kinds of hunting. οἱ δ᾽ ἀπὸ θήρας ζῶσι, καὶ θήρας ἕτεροι ἑτέρας, οἷον οἱ μὲν ἀπὸ λῃστείας, οἱ δ̓ ἀφ̓ ἁλιείας, ὅσοι λίμνας καὶ ἕλη καὶ ποταμοὺς θάλατταν τοιαύτην (i. e. of the same kind as the lakes, marshes and rivers, namely, fish-producing) προσοικοῦσιν, οἱ δ᾽ ἀπ̓ ὀρνίθων θηρίων ἀγρίων, piracy, man-hunting, fishing, fowling, and hunting wild animals, hunting proper.

Wherever there is rivalry or competition, there is also victory, the opportunity of shewing one's superiority. And this is what makes practice at the bar and in the law courts (where there is a perpetual struggle and contest for the victory going on between the two rival pleaders), and that of dialectics (what is avowedly and technically a contest between two opposites), pleasant occupations.

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